Letters: Marx-Engels Correspondence 1871

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Marx-Engels Correspondence 1871

Marx to Leo Frankel and Louis Varlin
In Paris


[London,] May 13, 1871

Would it not be useful to put the documents which compromise the Versailles canaille [blackguards] in a safe place? A precaution of this kind could not do any harm. I hear in a letter from Bordeaux that four Internationalists were elected at the last municipal elections. The ferment is beginning in the provinces. Unfortunately the action there is only local and "pacific." I have written several hundred letters on behalf of your cause to every corner of the world in which we have branches. The working class, for the rest, was on the side of the Commune from the beginning. Even the bourgeois papers in England have given up their first ferocity. I have Succeeded in slipping some favourable paragraphs into them from time to time.

The Commune seems to me to be wasting too much time in trivialities and personal quarrels. One can see that there are other influences besides that of the workers. None of this would matter if you had time to make up for the time lost.

It is absolutely necessary that whatever you want to do outside Paris, in England or elsewhere, you should do quickly. The Prussians will not hand over the forts to the Versailles government, but after the final conclusion of peace (May 26) will allow it to invest Paris with its gendarmes. Since Thiers and Co. had, as you know, stipulated for a large commission for themselves in the treaty they concluded by Pouyer Quertier, they refused to accept the help from the German bankers which Bismarck offered them. Had they accepted it they would have lost their commission. The preliminary condition for the realisation of their treaty being the subjugation of Paris, they have asked Bismarck to postpone their payment of the first instalment until after the occupation of Paris. Bismarck has accepted this condition. Prussia, being herself in very urgent need of this money, will therefore give the Versailles government every possible facility for hastening the occupation of Paris. So take care!